It is impractical to believe you can carry all the survival equipment that you would need, on your back, for an extended period in the wilderness.
This means then that you must have the tools, materials and equipment to build and gather what you need from your environment instead of trying to carry it all.
Water weighs 3.5lbs per gallon, so this means that if you carry the recommended one gallon per day, then your water alone will weigh 25lbs for a 72-hour supply. Then there is food and other supplies and tools.
Your basic survival equipment backpack should have enough food and water in it to allow you the time to begin procuring more from your environment once you become lost or stranded.
Do not expect to carry enough for when you become lost or stranded for an extended period. People have wandered for days and even weeks lost in the wild, so any supplies that were in their packs would have been depleted in the first few days.
Long-term survival means you have the tools, skill set and knowledge to obtain what you need for survival from your environment. Your survival kit should be in addition to the normal supplies you would carry. The kit should be designed to take over once your supplies have been depleted.
Also see Top 10 Survival Skills – Guide to Shelter
Tools Needed Would Include:
- Fixed bladed knife as well as a multi-tool
- Heavy cordage such as 550 Paracord or other suitable nylon rope minimum of 50 feet
- Machete and/or small camp axe
- 20-24 gauge wire for binding poles and attaching materials to the shelter
Fire Making Materials
Also see Top 10 Survival Skills – Making Fire
As soon as your shelter is constructed, you need a fire built before dark. Too many hunters, hikers and campers have found themselves literally out in the cold because they relied solely on matches for their fire.
Match heads will absorb any moisture in the air and will gather perspiration if carried in your pockets. Always have several means of starting a fire in your pack.
Your materials should be impervious to moisture and temperature. Waterproof matches can be ruined if submersed in water or exposed to rain or snow even if in your pack.
Fire Starting Materials Other Than Matches that should be In Your Pack:
- Ferrocerium rod and metal striker – shown on the right >
- Magnesium stick Fire Starter
- Waterproof container filled with cotton balls saturated with petroleum jelly
- Alcohol wipes, the wipes can be squeezed over tinder and ignited from just a spark created by a Ferro rod
- Hand sanitizer that contains alcohol can be used like the alcohol wipe to create a fire from a spark
Also see Top 10 Survival Tips – Find Water
Water collection, filtration and purification are a priority regardless of your current supply. You should always be pro-active in the procurement of water because in reality you can never have too much when in a wilderness environment.
Carry a three-day supply in your pack and as soon as you realize you are lost or stranded begin looking for a source as soon as you have a shelter and fire built.
As well as your 3 day supply, a portable water filter is essential survival equipment to carry with you. The Filtration Water Bottle is an essential piece of survival equipment to carry with you – the Lifesaver Bottle, shown here, will give over 1000 US Gallons of safe drinkable water
‘Emergency’ Materials Needed For Collection, Filtration and Purification of Water:
- Coffee filters and/or cheesecloth, these items do not take up space or add weight and you should always have an ample supply for emergency water filtration. Certain waterborne cysts that contain bacteria and parasites can only be removed from water by filtration. Boiling and chemical treatment alone is not always enough to remove/destroy all contaminates from the water. Hardwood charcoal, gravel and sand along with cloth can also be used for filtration. Use charcoal from your fire, gather sand and gravel near a water source.
- Water purification tablets you can use iodine based or chlorine based tablets but never mix the two when purifying a container
- Metal container to boil water in, such as a camp coffee pot, small stainless steel bowl or use stainless steel canteens and or metal nesting cups that are included with canteens
Hunting, Trapping/Snaring and Fishing
Also see Top 10 Survival Tips – Finding Food
Food is not a priority when it comes to actually sustaining life immediately after realizing you are lost. The average person can live in excess of three weeks with any food at all.
- *This does not mean you should attempt to do so however.
Your energy level after several days without nourishment would not be enough for you to accomplish much need survival tasks so food is important not only from a physical standpoint but from a psychological one as well.
People lost, will panic over the lack of food faster than the lack of shelter and water so it is important, if for nothing more than piece of mind, to have what is needed to obtain food in a wilderness environment.
Tools and Materials Needed For Food Gathering Include:
- An Automatic Reel Fishing – like the one on the right.
- Basic Emergency Survival Fishing Kit – that includes line, hooks, lures, artificial bait and bobbers
- Knife, axe or machete for making fishing and hunting spears
- Wire for bindings, making fishhooks, making animal snares or attaching spear points to saplings to be used for fishing/hunting spears
- Firearms would be ideal along with crossbows or a traditional longbow for hunting but in most cases people lost or stranded are not well armed and prepared for hunting in this manner
Personal Hygiene/First Aid
Also see Top 10 Survival Skills – Personal Hygiene
People often times neglect themselves in a wilderness situation and this can lead to trench foot/emersion foot, infections, and blisters and so on, which leads to having to administer first aid. Certain conditions can be avoided by taking a few simple steps and having certain supplies in your pack.
Supplies and Materials Needed Include:
- Adventure Medical Kit – like the one shown here.
- Extra socks because feet exposed to wet and damp conditions for a prolonged period will lead to trench foot. Change socks whenever they get damp and properly dry any that are wet or damp
- Lip balm, cracked lips can lead to infections of the lips and mouth so always have and apply lip balm to keep lips from cracking
- Oral care, brush your teeth even if it means chewing on the ends of a willow stick to make brushes for scrubbing your teeth.
- Bandanas for head, neck and face protection from the sun
- Sunscreen/lotion for protection from sunburn
- Sunglasses for eye protection